Judges

  

 Chapter 13

2-7, 24-25a

 
Pope Francis        19.12.19   Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)      Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25a,    Luke 1: 5-25 
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent Year A

Pope Francis talks about God's Grace 19.12.19 at Santa Marta

The prophecy of Isaiah (35: 1-6), on the blooming of the desert, reminds Christians that God is capable of changing everything, gratuitously. God saves us for free, but we sin when we desire to save ourselves.

Today's readings puts us in front of two deserts, that is two barren women: Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist in the Gospel, and the mother of Samson in the Old Testament.

In the Gospel Elizabeth's story also makes us think of the story of Abraham and Sara. Infertility is a desert because a sterile woman ends up there, without descendants. Both Sarah and Elizabeth are women of faith and trust in the Lord.

And the Lord makes the desert flourish. Both women conceive and give birth. "Father is this a miracle?" No, it is more than a miracle: it is the basis, it is precisely the foundation of our faith. Both conceive because God is capable of changing everything, even the laws of nature; is capable of making way for His Word. God's gifts are gratuitous. And the lives of both women are the expression of God's gratuitousness.

Both John the Baptist and Samson are God's gratuitousness, rather, they are the symbols, so to speak, of the gratuitousness of our salvation, because no one can save himself. The only one who saves is the Lord, the only one who can save us from our misery and brutality. And if you do not rely on the gratuitousness of the Lord's salvation, you will not be saved. But we must have faith, which is also a gift from God.

Let us all, in the words of St. Augustine, open our hearts to God’s gratuitousness.

None of us deserve salvation. Nobody! "But I pray, I fast..." Yes, this will do you good, but if there's no gratuitousness at the beginning of all of that, there's no chance. We're sterile. All of us. Sterile for the life of grace, sterile to go to heaven, sterile to conceive holiness. Only gratuitousness. And that's why we can't brag about being fair. "Father, I am Catholic, I am Catholic. I go to Mass on Sunday. I belong to this association, to this, to that one..." - "And tell me: are you buying your salvation like this? Do you think this will save you?" It will only help you to save yourself if you believe in the gratuitousness of God's gift. Everything is
grace.

For this reason all are called to worship the Lord and thank Him for so much grace.

Both of these women, then, gave birth to children who would be great in history. Samson, a great wrestler and strong man, who saved the people from the Philistines, but who perhaps did not care for the gratuitousness of the gift received from God. He made a mistake and fell into the hands of a woman who sold him to the Philistines. However, he recovered. We are all sinners and sin does not prevent this gratuitousness of God.

But, am I aware that sin does not prevent gratuitousness? And when I go to confession, what do I do? Do I say sins like a parrot or do I say them because I feel that I risked the gift of gratuitousness to have something of my own? Keep the gratuitousness and think of Samson: elected, good, who towards the end of his life had a slip, then recovered. But we can, we can slip and believe ourselves to be redeeming ourselves. That's sin. Sin is the desire to redeem ourselves. In
these days before Christmas we praise the Lord for the gratuitousness of salvation, for the gratuitousness of life, for all that he gives us for free. Everything is grace.

Let us reflect on whether we keep this gratuitousness or put it at risk with our sins.